How to Plan a Last-Minute Winter Vacation Without Breaking the Bank
Leah Walker November 19, 2016

As the anticipation of flannel shirts and pumpkin spice lattes gives way to the reality of frosty mornings and shoveling snow, a winter escape starts to sound much more enticing. However, budgeting for and planning a getaway after the busy holiday season isn’t easy, and you might wish you’d thought about escaping the cold sooner.

That doesn’t mean you have to endure the winter blues until April — which sounds really far away right now. These simple but often overlooked tips for planning and enjoying a last-minute winter escape will give you something to anticipate while scraping ice off your car’s windshield.

Last-Minute Flight, Hotel, and Cruise Deals

 

Planning a getaway months ahead of time can help you save money in many areas of your trip, but that doesn’t mean you have to pay more to escape at the last minute. Browse sites such as FlightTonight and LastMinute for special flight and accommodation deals for procrastinators such as yourself.

Change Your View of a Winter Destination

 

You don’t need to board a plane to a tropical beach to ease the winter blues. Visiting some less popular winter destinations can still take the monotony out of long, dark winter days. Many European cities, such as Barcelona and Paris, offer less expensive hotel and travel prices during the chillier off-season, but that doesn’t mean that you’ll have less fun. Exploring some of the world’s most iconic historic sites, museums, and eateries doesn’t require sunny skies and summer temperatures.

Use Coupons and Promo Codes

 

Coupons have been something clipped out of newspapers and magazines for so many decades that it can be difficult to remember that they’re online, too. Browse the internet for exclusive last-minute coupons, promo codes, and deals on everything from flights, accommodations, rental cars, and tickets to local attractions and tours. You rarely have to pay full price on travel.

Be Flexible

 

You know you want to get away from the cold, and you want it to be soon — but you can save big by adding a little flexibility to your last-minute plans. Plan your departure for a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday, and don’t return on weekend days, either. Adjusting your travel dates can save you hundreds of dollars.

Last-minute getaways are also times for being flexible with your destination and accommodations. You might save big by visiting Grand Bahama instead of Nassau or by settling for a garden-view room instead of an ocean-view room. Save the over-the-top luxuries and expensive tours for the vacations that you plan months in advance, and you’ll have more to spend on authentic eats and poolside drinks.

Get Your Friends on Board

 

Are you convinced that your girlfriends can’t resist a last-minute trip to Vegas? Call them now. Traveling with others means splitting the cost of accommodations, transportation, and food if you’ll be renting a home or apartment. You can also save on tours and activities by booking in bulk with friends.

Your desperation to escape the cold in the heart of winter doesn’t mean that you have to pay more than those who planned ahead. Be flexible, do your research, and make the most of whichever destination you choose. You’ll return feeling relaxed, refreshed, and ready to shovel.

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Leah Walker

Leah's a luxury travel and food writer who has as many stories as she does shoes. She documents her experiences whether that's in the lap of luxury or riding through a swamp in an airboat. Leah freelances and has contributor/editor roles with The Daily Meal, The Daily Basics, Bonjour Paris, France Today, Luxe Beat Magazine, Four Seasons Magazine, Forbes Travel Guide, and is a travel ambassador for Atout France USA. Leah's thrilled to call Paris home after being awarded the coveted three-year Compétences & Talents visa from France, though her talents don't extend to speaking French. Yet.

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